The Dark Reality of Communism
Communism whether in the political or economic form is typified by debates on associated benefits and demerits. It is essentially a belief system with economic ramifications where citizens are required to trust the government’s controllership of land and production systems. The pseudo-economic philosophy inherent in communism is also a phase in socialism where the society is characterized by classlessness, statelessness achieved through equal distribution of wealth. Conversely, communism on a conspiratory perceptive is deemed as an attempt by individuals in high leadership positions to consolidate power as well as wealth. Additionally, the high placed individuals subtly stifle creativity by controlling freedom of thought necessary for the advancement of the society. Whenever communism is established, the immediate goals are similarly to mobilize the working class to dethrone capitalist individuals or governments (Lansford, 10). Typically, communism lacks appeal to the productive, dynamic and innovative spirit characteristic of humanity and development.
In modern times, the philosophy behind communism is perpetuated by social institutions and labor movements striving to contain individual success as well as competition. The income disparity characterizing the modern society has many individuals enticed by the thought of granted minimum security and sustenance, thoughts despised five or more decades ago. Incidentally, communism has seldom resulted in a successive society given it inhibits innovation and restricts competition necessary for society to emerge from underproduction and inefficiency. In USSR for instance, profit making was banned for a period close to seventy years with laws making it illegal to make a chair and sell it or for an author to benefit from sales of a book. However, proponents of communism envisioned a society with no poverty and inequality. Examples of communist states presently are Cuba, North Korea and China (although currently liberalizing the production systems form excessive governmental control).
The communist notion states capital (land and industry) ownership by individuals lead to exploitation of worker thus all capital should be owned by the state. In contrast, state implies government has excessive control and power consequently; consolidation of power is vested on a few political leaders. Communist leaders as evidenced in former USSR and East Germany immerse vast amounts of wealth while providing the citizens with minimal basic sustenance and security. As aforementioned consumers/citizens needs have negligible influence in communist-centered markets where forces of demand/supply characteristic of market oriented systems are nonexistent. The state decides the product as well as quantity produced.
Karl Marx, a great economist among other things and is regarded as the father of the communist thought. He suggested a scenario where individuals work to their personal best in reference to ability or talent while the government provides for their needs comprising of healthcare, food and shelter. Apart from the workers not worrying about basic amenities, the state paid wages corresponding to the value of their work to the society thus alleviating exploitation. The individual was free from coercion all forms of need and granted the ability to develop to higher tiers (work). Additionally, while observing capitalism he noted profits created by entrepreneurs were surplus values created by employees thus exploitative. The profit was the difference between employee pay and price of the product (Fandel, 25).
However, reality is more complex given the government is first unable to identify accurately every individual’s needs. Secondly, employees have different skills and competence levels where some are rarer thus, a common wage is irrational. Furthermore, there is little incentive to work harder granted increased individual output does not result to a corresponding improvement in lifestyle. Communist governments are in practice of paying wages enough for sustenance with no consideration for other needs.
No individual is expected to work harder to succeed or be richer as Karl proposed. Ideally, he opposed capitalism on ground of confining an individual to only one vacation or economic class in a lifetime thus more liberty and all rounded development of an individual. In opposition communism decreased the options available to a person as the government decides one’s suitability based on family heritage or exposure. This in contrast has created serious poverty levels in certain regions of communist states. For instance, China has its populated cities primarily driven by technological production while the countryside regions still practice agriculture (Smit 26).
From an economic view, communism faces three challenges the first is deciding what to produce, second how to produce and lastly how to distribute income or profits. When compared to the capitalist or free-market systems, these challenges are overcome by consumer choice and profit motive. The central control characteristic of communism results to reduced variety of goods given consumer sovereignty composed of preferences besides needs is ignored. The resulting state output is below optimum coupled with limited production patterns. Limited production techniques result from central control where production procedures are chosen from among narrow options.
Moreover, the production techniques are epitomized by fore planning where the state stipulates the production quantity required while providing need resources. The disadvantage associated with fore planning is inflexibility incase needs or demand for the product change abruptly as the case with disastrous effects of floods in Vietnam (Grant, 28). An exemplification of the aforementioned demerits is Soviet Union’s agricultural collectivism in 1928 where incensed and demotivated farmers slaughtered animals and burnt agricultural produce to avoid handing it to the government. Agricultural collectivism entailed farmers handing their entire product to the government for subsequent division and allocation to state citizens. The decreased product output resulted to food shortages months later.
Numerous complaints against bureaucracy are prevalent in government run institutions capitalist or otherwise. However, bureaucracy is far worse in communism given the extensive central planning. Optimal economic systems aim at employing all production systems to a point of equilibrium. In communism, central planning faces the challenge of creating production equilibrium by regulating to create balance among business. Complex comparison approaches ensuing balance plans increase bureaucracy. The comparison systems are meant to ensure every business produces sufficient quota and is supplied with adequate resources (Holmes 10).
Communism is rarely contained to economic control but almost all communist governments infringe on other rights such as speech and worship. This explains the vulnerability of communist states to other control vices such as fascism where race and nationality were revered more than individuals were. The citizens are obliged to dedicate sincere loyalty to policies and directions made by the government. Under communist states, atrocities against races deemed inferior such as the holocaust occurred. The state has the mandate to provide for the need of its citizens thus regulates travel whether domestic or international. Additionally, international travel is viewed as loss of work force for the production systems therefore the government deems it illegal or makes its prospects difficult by creating numerous prerequisites. The disadvantages of such regulations are evident in communist countries characterized by high poverty levels and shortage of goods with devalued currencies. One causal factor is misappropriation and inefficiency in management of state resources since there is no accountability or repercussions for the government (Link, 51).
In numerous instances such as Eastern Europe where communism collapsed, transitional governments are faced with tremendous challenges while freeing the market as well as political systems. One primary challenge was maintaining the full employment previously granted under communism. However full employment was not coupled by optimization of other resources thus the economies where still under producing. Transitional governments had to set up problematic social support programs as market liberalization created unemployment. For that reason communism posses great difficulties for states desiring to liberalize (Astyk 58).
In conclusion, the benefits associated with communism such as economic equality, liberty to develop self with no capitalist coercion and absence of exploitations can only attach in an ideal but not a practical world thus the statement it is founded on illusion. The notion of power vested in the workers is ideal to most communist establishments but pursued with variant vigor where the state ultimately controls production plans and quantities. None of the communist states has been able to measure and meet precisely the basic needs of the population in spite of full employment levels. State control is characterized by individuals in high places immersing health while providing sustenance wages to workers. Central planning typical of communism is rarely contained to production but prevails over worship, travel and speech rights predisposing the state to fascism where nationality or race prevails over essential human rights.
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